Daily reading assignment: Job 21-23
Job has answered the slanderous judgments of “friends” who imply his trials must be attributable to some sin he has not confessed (Job 20:4-29). Job answers Zophar’s false declarations in chapter 21, contradicting his “friend’s” assertions that the path of the wicked is marked by suffering, sorrows, and a life cut short.
Job contends the way of sinners appears to succeed in this sinful world. The wicked seem to prosper, grow old and, in spite of their sins (21:7-21), their deaths differ little from that of other men (21:22-34).
I have observed the same as Job: Liars, cheats, and swindlers appear to prosper in this world, while their victims languish in the wake of their path of deceit and destruction. I have witnessed single moms impoverished and naïve men deceived by wicked men who evidence no guilt of conscience or visible consequences for their sins. In fact, the wicked often appear to prosper while the righteous are impoverished!
Caution: All is not what it seems and a day of judgment is appointed for sinners.
God is “longsuffering…not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) and His patience exceeds our own; however, He is just and sin demands its payday. Job observes,
Job 21:30-32 – 30 That the wicked is reserved [spared] to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath [God’s wrath; fury]. 31 Who shall declare his way to his face [face of the wicked]? and who shall repay him what he hath done? 32 Yet shall he [the wicked] be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.
Eliphaz continues his assault on Job’s noble character in chapter 22. Refusing to accept his protest of innocence, Eliphaz suggests Job has committed some wickedness and God has judged him. Eliphaz states a litany of sins Job might have committed to invite God’s wrath (22:6-20) and urges him to confess his sin and turn to God (22:21-30).
Weary of protesting his innocence, Job expresses his longing to seek God’s presence and plead his cause knowing He is just and never changes (Job 23). Job declares with conviction,
“But he knoweth [perceives and understands] the way [path; journey] that I take: when he hath tried [test; proved; examined] me, I shall come forth as gold [i.e. pure and refined by the fire of testing]” (Job 23:10).
What is true of gold is true of the heart…the more it is fired the purer, softer, and more valuable it is.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith